The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau just announced that Lee County hotels and resorts saw a 20 per cent increase in visitors this summer.
Sanibel hotel and resorts are also reporting a robust summer despite economic uncertainties facing the country. Much of the increase has to do with the summer influx of Scandinavians, Germans and other foreigners.
Your intrepid reporter attempted to find out why Sanibel was suddenly the darling attraction of the overseas summer set. I cornered some overseas visitors at the Bailey Center and asked them what brought them to Sanibel in August.
One Scandinavian put it this way: "Min familj lskar att komma till Sanibel i augusti eftersom det r lugn och fridfull. Vi lskar att g p stranden, sk efter sllsynta snckor, ta p Island och f autografer frn Willard Scott."
What an unusual reason for coming to Sanibel, I thought. After all, Sweden's King and Queen rarely get to Sanibel and the chances of getting an audience with them are slim at best. Plus they also wanted a glimpse of Willard Scott.
I ran into a German teenager and asked him why he came to Sanibel:
"Ich komme zu Sanibel auf andere Computer-Nerds wie mich treffen. Ich mag auf twitter Florida Jugendliche in meinem Alter und sie zu mir in die Hacken in die Wells Fargo Bank hier unten so anzuschlieen, dass wir einige Mittel zu stehlen und sie in ein Konto auf den Cayman Islands."
That didn't sound very good to me so I immediately put in a call to the Sanibel police to have this mischievous young man monitored. The last thing we need in Sanibel is for yet another teenager to hack into our restaurant reservation computer systems.
I left the Bailey area and drove over to Traders. I wanted to find out how our foreign visitors liked Sanibel restaurants. I encountered an Italian couple leaving the restaurant and asked them how they liked the food.
"Siamo assolutamente d'amore Traders. La sua reputazione forte in tutta la Costiera Amalfitana da dove veniamo. Ci si aspetterebbe che l'Italia ha ottimi ristoranti, ma siamo in grado di annusare il profumo di frutti di mare."
I didn't believe them for one second. I think they were pulling my leg when they said that Traders has a sister restaurant on the Amalfi coast. Now I'm beginning to wonder if these people are really Italian.
I saw a Japanese family having an outdoor lunch at Doc Ford's. The temperature must have been 95 degrees and they were sweating up a storm. I wondered why they preferred to dine outdoors. I asked them.
Yes, they made a good point. Dining outdoors in Sanibel in 95-degree temperature sure beats living near the troubled nuclear power plant that the entire world has been watching back in Japan.
So there you have it the reasons why foreigners love to visit Sanibel in August. We should be very proud.